A shockingly normal prom dress. (photo via Opposing Views)
Clare Ettinger, a 17-year-old high school senior, won the Internet today with her blog post titled "F*ck the Patriarchy." (The site seems to be down at the moment, but here's a link to the cached post.) The wonderfully named guest post on her older sister's blog details the way Clare was unjustly kicked out of prom for inspiring lusty thoughts in the heads of male chaperones.
Here's what happened. Ettinger, who is home-schooled, was planning to attend the Richmond Homeschool Prom (theme: "Twilight in Paris"), as she had the three previous years. Her boyfriend bought tickets, she picked out the perfect dress, and they showed up at the party with a few friends. Ettinger had searched everywhere for her sparkly silver dress, and paired with her blonde hair and red lipstick, she knew she looked great. "I'm a tall and fairly curvy girl and you know something? I looked hot," Ettinger writes. "Not trashy, but you definitely would look twice when I walked through a doorway."
Before she could even walk through the doorway to enter prom, however, Ettinger was pulled aside by Mrs. D, one of the two organizers of the event. Mrs. D told Ettinger her dress was too short, but Ettinger proved it complied with the function's rule of "fingertip length or longer." She explained that since she's tall, dresses sometimes look shorter on her.
Once inside, Ettinger and her friends stood around, swaying a bit to the music like you do when you're a senior and too cool for school. They noted the creepiness of the dads on the balcony above the dance floor, "ogling and talking amongst themselves."
After a while, Mrs. D pulled Ettinger aside again, telling her "some of the dads who were chaperoning had complained that [her] dancing was too provocative, and that [she] was going to cause the young men at the prom to think impure thoughts." In other words, the dads were saying, "We are stressed out because we find you sexy, so you have to go."
Ettinger protested that she hadn't even been dancing, much less seductively. Nonetheless, Mrs. D told Ettinger she had to leave. Ettinger refused to go unless she got a refund of the cost of the dance. Since her friends were all sharing one ride, she wanted refunds for them as well. She got her refund, but her friends didn't.
Now Ettinger is demanding a refund for her friends and an apology from the event's organizers "for kicking me out of my senior prom because their husbands felt as though my body was something they had a right to control." The whole situation is incredibly infuriating, not least because the only people who are supposed to be objectifying you on prom night are other students.
Ettinger sums it up nicely. "I'm not responsible for some perverted 45 year old dad lusting after me because I have a sparkly dress on and a big ass for a teenager. And if you think I am, then maybe you're part of the problem."
(by Shira Rachel Danan)